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Chinese Make Offers "Byd" for Sports Market

XI'AN, China — Byd, a privately owned carmaker in the city of Xi'an, will unveil a new sports car at the forthcoming Beijing auto show.

Called the F8, it is the first Chinese hardtop convertible with independent intellectual property rights. Byd Auto has not always been so original. The company, which is controlled by a mobile phone battery producer, started its automotive adventure as an assembler of the Suzuki Alto.

In 2001, the company introduced the Alto-based Flyer minicar, which was followed by the rather Toyota Corolla-esque F3 in 2005. The company's BMW 7 Series lookalike, called the F6, is also scheduled to be launched soon.

From certain angles, the 177.1-inch (although other sources claim it's the 161-inch) F8 looks like a Mercedes-Benz SL. Its hood can be raised in 25 seconds with the touch of a button, by a hydraulic mechanism. It will be generously equipped: ABS, four airbags, DVD player, electric windows and so on. Byd has not announced the date of its market launch, but predicts that the price will be around U.S. $25,400.

What this means to you: Sure, it is a bit of a copycat, but still a huge leap forward from such crude devices as the Geely Beauty Leopard
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